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In recession, pets are indispensable

America has spoken. When it comes to life during a recession, magazine subscriptions and bottles of wine can be cut out of the budget, but we just can't say no anti-depressants and spa treatments for our four-legged friends.

According to data recently released by the American Pet Products Association (APPA), the pet industry grew by about 5 percent in 2009 as Americans spent more than $45.5 billion on pet care and related services, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

The report reflects consumer spending on pet food, supplies, veterinary care, live animal purchases as well as grooming and boarding services.

While the gains themselves are impressive during an economic downturn, experts say that the industry will likely grow by another 5 percent in 2010, expecting total revenue to approach $48 billion.

The growth seems to have emerged from the trend of "humanizing" pet products and services, the news source reports.

Last year, veterinary care alone grew by 8.5 percent as pet owners shelled out cash on services including pet root canals, grief counseling and CAT scans (available for both dogs and cats.)

The pet industry has been a recent target for entrepreneurs. In 2009, start-ups began offering products and services such as pet droppings removal and dog-approved ice creams.
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